It is part of the human condition, I suppose, to look for perfection. We seek it in many ways, particularly when we are young.We search for the perfect mate, perfect school, perfect wedding dress, perfect dinner plates, perfect neighborhood….all because it seems so very, very important to get it Right. No one ever says “I’d like an average dress for my 10th Reunion, please”. Or, how about ” yes, any countertops will do for my new kitchen renovation”. When did any hairdresser every hear: “cut off as much as you want..it really doesn’t matter”?
As I was walking through my living room, my gaze was caught by the long, winding scratch on the ceiling. It is a peculiar mark because it sort of zig-zags along; it could only have been created by the top of a Christmas tree being moved into a tree holder. Now, my lovely renovated ceiling is imperfect, and that mark will probably be there for a long time. It happened when the Xmas tree was being carried to its appointed spot. I remember when it happened I was annoyed that the ceiling got scraped; now it just brings back happy memories of the Holidays.
That’s the thing about imperfection. Once you get past the need for things to be completely organized, in line, shiny, and in order, there is a whole world of imperfect to enjoy! For example, the kitchen doorway, through which we enter the house, was remodeled 8 years ago. It has lovely divided vertical windows on each side, and pretty wood molding. Well, it was pretty wood molding. Then came Theodore. My Golden Retriever/Lab/Border Collie mix dog is, shall we say, excitable? Teddy has scratched the molding beyond recognition in his efforts to convey his excitement when we arrive home. He leaps and bounds and shrieks his enthusiasm until he is happily ensconced in our arms. So, my molding is ruined. But when I look at it now, I have come to see it as a measure of the deep and abiding love that Teddy has for us. It needs to be repaired, but it will probably stay that way for a long time.
There are many such marks and scars in my home. Paint-chipped doorways that have had too much clumsy traffic through them. Screens that succumbed to erratic protests from my Siberian Husky Misha’s claws when squirrels and cats had the audacity to stroll near the fence line. Ceiling water spots that were created by teenage shower events. Saved pieces of china and glass that need to be super-glued because I dropped them. All things that happen from the imperfect days and nights of a family living here.
The photo of the Organic Tomatoes above is very appealing to me today:it reminds me of warm Summer days on this cold February morning. It also shows the variety of tomatoes available, from blemished and flawed to ideal. They are all full of nutrients and vitamins and juicy, wholesome wonderfulness. Do we choose the quintessential tomato? Can we enjoy the flawed? Can we retrain ourselves to view them as equally nourishing and valuable?
Perhaps in this complicated time of human history, we need a daily experiment. Could we start to modify our own behavior when it comes to perfection? Could we try to see other people as flawed, but still valuable?
Start with your own family and friends. Love them despite their propensity to make mistakes. Things and feelings and relationships can be repaired. But the Love you share with them will probably stay that way for a long time.